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Friday, April 19, 2024

How ex-Man United stars fared as managers as Cleverley fills in

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After Watford dispensed with Valerien Ismael on Saturday it was pointed out the Vicarage Road club have had more managers since 2019 than there have been Dalai Lamas since 1589.Such a turnover doesn’t seem to have got the Hornets any further on but the latest change will see another former Manchester United player enter the dug-out.Tom Cleverley, 34, will take charge on an interim basis as Watford begin the search for yet another new boss. Cleverley played 79 times in United’s midfield between 2011 and 2014, before moving on to Everton. He finished his playing career at Watford and had been helping out with their under-18 side before this promotion.He joins the group of United players from the late Sir Alex Ferguson era who have tried their hand at managing – with decidedly mixed results. Tom Cleverley is about to become the latest former Manchester United manager to try management as he takes temporary charge of Watford  Watford sacked head coach Valerien Ismael following Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Coventry OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAERUnited’s 1999 Treble hero earned himself the top job at Old Trafford after restoring smiles to faces as the caretaker boss following Jose Mourinho’s dismissal in December 2018.Solskjaer’s understanding of how a Manchester United team should play endeared him to the fans but results seemed to fluctuate between the amazing and the terrible.In the end, his team were nearly-men. They were a couple of penalty kicks away from winning the Europa League in 2021 and they were serial semi-finalists without taking the last step.Solskjaer did guide United to a second-placed finish in the Premier League in 2020-21, albeit some way behind champions Man City.A disastrous start to the following season saw Solskjaer dismissed and he hasn’t been tempted to return to the dug-out since despite no shortage of offers.He’s been spending time in his native Norway coaching kids teams and working as a UEFA technical advisor. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the United job but his side were nearly-men in the big competitions  Solskjaer’s side came very close to lifting the Europa League, which might have extended his time in the job a littler longer as he was sacked a few months later  WAYNE ROONEYRooney won’t want to dwell on his nightmare 15-game spell at Birmingham City earlier this season as the former England striker looks for his next assignment.The club’s new American owners gambled on Rooney when they replaced the popular coach John Eustace but from a base of sixth-position in the Championship, they slumped to 20th after Rooney achieved only two wins.Prior to that calamity, Rooney worked wonders in very difficult circumstances in his first managerial post at Derby County between 2020 and 2022.Points deductions for financial issues put paid to any chance of Championship survival and there was no money to spend on new signings, so Rooney did very well to get results.He then returned to DC United in MLS but this proved short-lived as they failed to qualify for the play-offs.Rooney is 38 and clearly wants to pick his next job very carefully after what happened at St Andrew’s. He remains a huge name in football so offers will surely be forthcoming.In a recent appearance on Stick to Football, he said he’d be more than happy to restart at a League Two club if it came to it. Wayne Rooney endured a torrid 15-game spell at Birmingham in his last managerial postingMICHAEL CARRICKFormer United midfielder Carrick, 42, served for three games after Solskjaer’s sacking in the autumn of 2021. He’d worked beforehand in Mourinho and Solskjaer’s coaching staff as he gained experience.A year later, he landed his first proper job in management at Middlesbrough, who were struggling in 21st in the Championship when appointed.Carrick completely transformed their fortunes, winning 16 of his first 23 games in the helm. In the end, Boro reached the play-offs but were beaten by Coventry in the semi-finals.This season hasn’t been as successful with Boro lacking the consistency to challenge for the play-offs. They did, however, reached the Carabao Cup semi-finals.Carrick does clearly have the makings of a successful coach in the years ahead. Michael Carrick enjoyed success with Boro last season before they tailed off this campaign PHIL NEVILLEThe younger Neville sibling has just started a new post with MLS club Portland Timbers, who have taken seven points from their opening three games to top the nascent Western Conference table.It followed his sacking by Inter Miami – by former United team-mate David Beckham – after a dire set of results at the beginning of the 2023 campaign.The year before, Neville had taken the recently-formed franchise into the play-offs but they fell at the first hurdle.The most impressive thing on his coaching CV to date came when he led the Lionesses to fourth place at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, following an agonising loss to the United States in the semi-finals.A poor run of losses led to Neville leaving the England job in January 2021 with his successor Sarina Wiegman subsequently taking the team to European glory the next year. Phil Neville has a new managerial gig at Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer GARY NEVILLENeville the elder has proved a far better television pundit and businessman than a coach, with his infamous spell in charge of Valencia in 2015-16 seemingly putting him off management.With Phil as his right-hand man, Valencia won only 10 of 28 matches in charge, a spell which featured a 7-0 thrashing by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals and a lengthy LaLiga winless run.Neville was sent off for arguing with the officials during a Europa League tie with Athletic Bilbao, and despite his ties with owner Peter Lim, he was fired not long after.Speaking on the Overlap in 2022, Neville admitted he was way out of his depth at Valencia, adding on the prospect of managing again: ‘I wouldn’t do it in the future. I would never do it again.’ Gary Neville endured a torrid time at Valencia and vowed never to go near a dug-out againROY KEANEFormer United captain Keane is an excellent pundit like Neville but unlike his old team-mate, you can see him returning to management at some point.His last coaching role was as Nottingham Forest’s assistant in 2019 and prior to that he served under Martin O’Neill in the Republic of Ireland national team and then Paul Lambert at Aston Villa.It has been over 13 years now, however, since Keane, 52, was last in charge of a team at Ipswich Town.He didn’t have the success at Portman Road he enjoyed in his first posting at Sunderland, where he transformed them from Championship relegation candidates to champions, before keeping them up in the Premier League.Keane did hint earlier this year that if the ‘right challenge, the right club and the right contract’ came up he might be tempted to return to management. Roy Keane has hinted at a return to management but his last No 1 job was at Ipswich in 2011RYAN GIGGSGiggs also enjoyed a brief spell as United’s manager when David Moyes was sacked in April 2014 and he later served as Louis van Gaal’s assistant.When he became Wales manager in 2018, it seemed like the launchpad for a successful managerial career, especially when they secured qualification for Euro 2020.But with the tournament delayed because of Covid, Giggs had to step aside in November 2020 after allegations of assault against his girlfriend Kate Greville.In 2022, Giggs left the Wales job after the case went to trial with Rob Page taking over.Giggs was cleared of the charges in July 2023, almost a year after jurors failed to reach a verdict following the trial.At a recent speaking event, Giggs, 50, said he ‘misses’ management and hopes to return at some point. Ryan Giggs stepped aside as Wales manager after assault allegations against his girlfriendPAUL SCHOLESScholes has also embarked on a successful post-playing career as a pundit, but he has also dabbled in coaching.He stepped in alongside Phil Neville to lead Class of 92-owned Salford City in January 2015, and in 2019 was appointed boss of hometown club Oldham Athletic.That lasted a mere seven games (and just one win) with Scholes unhappy at the interference of owner Abdallah Lemsagam in first-team affairs.Scholes again stepped in as Salford’s caretaker for a few games in 2020-21 between the tenures of Graham Alexander and Richie Wellens. Paul Scholes took over at his hometown club Oldham but complained about interference RUUD VAN NISTELROOYThe kind of prolific finisher United could do with at the moment, Van Nistelrooy has also taken a foray into coaching post-retirement.The Dutchman returned to the familiar surroundings of PSV Eindhoven, working in their reserves and youth set-up, either side of a stint working as Guus Hiddink’s assistant with the Netherlands national side.In 2022, Van Nistelrooy was made PSV’s manager and even though they finished second in the Eredivisie and won the Dutch Cup, he resigned close to the end of the season citing a lack of support from the club hierarchy. Ex-United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy was in charge at PSV but didn’t feel supported enoughLAURENT BLANCA leader on the field, it was perhaps little surprise French defender Blanc, who spent the last two seasons of his career at Old Trafford, would go into management.He has led Bordeaux, the French national side, Paris Saint-Germain, Qatari club Al-Rayyan and, most recently, Lyon.Blanc has been successful, too, winning four Ligue 1 titles and a host of cup competitions, while being voted Ligue 1 player of the year three times.His spell with Lyon ended back in September with the club rock bottom of the league but they’ve recently got their act together to climb to mid-table. Laurent Blanc has been successful as a coach but his last job at Lyon ended in disaster 

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